US Ready To Select New Nuclear Warhead

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posted on Jan, 8 2007 @ 01:02 AM
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Next week the US will announce a plan towards building a new nuclear warhead, the first such warhead design in nearly 20 years. The design will feature elements from both competing teams (Los Alamos and the Livermore National Laboratory) as officials said both designs had some excellent features. No further specific details are available at this time but when approved the plan calls for initial production and service to start in 2012. The new warhead will not add on to the stockpile but rather replace old warheads nearing their shelf life and it will enhance overall US nuclear capability.


WASHINGTON: The Bush administration is expected to announce this week a major step forward in the building of the country's first new nuclear warhead in nearly two decades. It will propose combining elements of competing designs from two weapons laboratories in an approach that some experts argue is untested and risky.

The new weapon would not add to but replace the nation's existing arsenal of aging warheads with a new generation meant to be sturdier, more reliable, safer from accidental detonation and more secure from theft by terrorists.

Administration officials and military officers like General James Cartwright, head of the Strategic Command, which controls the nation's nuclear arsenal, argue that because the United States provides a nuclear umbrella for so many allies, it is critical that its stockpile be as reliable as possible.

"We will not 'un-invent' nuclear weapons, and we will not walk away from the world," Cartwright said in an interview. "Right now, it is not the nation's position that zero is the answer to the size of our inventory."

He added: "So, if you are going to have these weapons, they should be safe, they should be able to be secured, and they should be reliable if used."

Link


The US has placed a moratorium on nuclear tests but that may need to be lifted to validate the new warhead. Also, seeing as how we have not designed a nuclear warhead since the Cold War it is height time we did so. There is no place for taboo when it comes to national security, we also need to realise that the end of the Cold War does not mean that everyone gets along peacefully, our old enemies (see China and Russia) have realized this and now we need to do the same.

Our older warheads are getting unreliable (nothing lasts forever) and dated in terms of technology, we need a general upgrade in capability.

All that's left for us to do now is develop a new ICBM design to replace the Minuteman...

[edit on 8-1-2007 by WestPoint23]



ape

posted on Jan, 8 2007 @ 01:30 AM
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do you think we need a new nuke WP? I thought we were upgrading our current warheads so we wouldnt have to develope new ones. I thought technology like DEW would eventually make ICBM's among other missiles obsolete, is this a wise investment?




[edit on 8-1-2007 by ape]



posted on Jan, 8 2007 @ 04:28 AM
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To be frank I dont think this country does enough to make sure it is prepared for a military threat. For christ sake look at how our military is being streatched and noone here at home seems to care. It is very disturbing thinking what chinas or russias plans are for the U.S. in case of military action. With the boneheads that seem to be running this country its a wonder that were even updating our nukes.



posted on Jan, 8 2007 @ 05:28 PM
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Now this is a serious question, Is the US currently at any risk for Nuclear attack. Are they pissing off anyone capable of doing such.



posted on Jan, 8 2007 @ 06:31 PM
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Given the degree to which the designs differ I am amazed we're even pretending that we won't need to test.

Both of these are supposed to be dramatically different in design from the "stock" design we've been evolving for the past 20 years. I'm not sure I'd feel safe extrapolating from old designs on this one.



posted on Jan, 11 2007 @ 02:59 AM
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Given the present level of our technology I do not believe tests of the new thermonuclear warheads are warranted! I also believe that we should increase the size of our B2 bomber force to about 130 airframes each capable of ferrying +8 stealthy accurate nuclear tipped missiles, and further pursue stealth missile technology with warheads yielding in the magnitude of +300 kt. Do you not think that would be the ulitimate deterrent? Think about it! ...100+ airframes headed towards you virtually invisibly each bearing 2.4 MT worth of gifts. My point is after our first strike (The bluck of those targets being fixed and locatable mobile launchers...the navy tracks and can take care of the prospective enemy boomers), what'd be left would not be worth launching in a counter strike considering our SLBM, ICBM, and gravity bomb deterrent! With +130 stealthy launch platforms each with at least 8 targets, we're talking about 1040 ICBM silo and and bomber base targets in Russia and China combined, and that's before we deploy secondary air delivery platforms like the F-117, F-15, F-16, or the new generation F-22, and F-35! Hey guys if my logic is flawed...set me straight please.



posted on Jan, 11 2007 @ 09:23 AM
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Originally posted by oeripaul
Given the present level of our technology I do not believe tests of the new thermonuclear warheads are warranted!


If you were making straightforward mods, probably not. I am not so sure that the W88's aspheric pit design didn't need testing, though.

This design eliminates the boost gas system and uses a brand new initiator, as well as a totally new chemical explosive technology. There are too many revolutionary changes. You might get away with evolutionary ones, but this is a bit much.



posted on Jan, 11 2007 @ 12:30 PM
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I don't think so Westy.

May I draw your attention to the following website:

news.bbc.co.uk...

Notice the date: 20th December 2006.

I am staggered at the cost of the missile - a whopping $29.1M EACH!

Money that could be better spent on conventional forces and my favourite missile - the SLCM or ALCM.

For those of you who still doubt, the range of a Trident II D5, is 4,600 miles - 400 miles LESS than the next generation of cruise missiles



posted on Jan, 11 2007 @ 12:39 PM
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Evasive stealth cruise missiles in a wide-spread attack pattern would be pesky.



posted on Jan, 11 2007 @ 01:05 PM
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I can't find a yield for the new warhead design. Anyone see one listed anywhere? I would suspect a mid 100's kiloton re-entry sized warhead, but it doesn't seem to elaborate.



posted on Jan, 11 2007 @ 01:45 PM
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It's not the sort of thing they'd publish. However, based on tradition, strategy, and some hints from the old stomping ground, there are several things going on.

1) We tend to stock weapons in the 100kT to 500kT range. USAF loves this 150kT dial-a-yield gravity bomb they have, and that's mostly what we have left in Europe right now. Navy loves the 450-500kT range for SLBM use. TLAM-N had a 200kT top end. The 100-500kT range is the most useful for strategic targets, megawhopper Cold War show off Tsar bombs are nasty and inefficient. You get the biggest bang for your buck, so to speak, in the mid-range, with dial-a-yield to isolate the smaller targets. More just bounces off the ground and spreads fallout. OTOH there are also a lot of uses for demolition munitions in the 0.5 to 15kT range, so small ones are good to have as well. A lot of that got pulled in 1989-1991 and decommissioned.

2) Smaller is better, physically. The big Atlas type booster is now a big target. If you stay in the atmosphere it takes longer to get there, but it's harder to find. A tree-hugging evasive stealth cruise missile is cheaper and stands a really good chance of getting through. Not to mention you can stash them in 18-wheelers and railroad cars.

3) If you can work out how to do an efficient fission warhead without boost, the mechanical hooha around the physics package gets a lot smaller. Up to now that wouldn't have helped a lot because the chemical explosives that compress the warhead had to be somewhat bulky in comparison.

4) That's changed. There's a new kid in town, HMX/RDX is now passe. You can get all the compression you want now, in a much much smaller package.

5) That also fixed a boundary instability issue with radical compression ratios

6) So now you can get very small warheads as well, if you'd like a 0.5kT demolition charge in a package you could ruck around in your ALICE and still have room for some food, ammo and dry socks. Theoretically speaking, that is.



posted on Jan, 11 2007 @ 03:21 PM
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Originally posted by fritz
I don't think so Westy.


Well I do Fritzy.



Originally posted by fritz
I am staggered at the cost of the missile - a whopping $29.1M EACH!


IMO national security and sovereignty in the way of a nuclear deterrence is priceless. But maybe that's just me.



Originally posted by fritz
Money that could be better spent on conventional forces and my favourite missile - the SLCM or ALCM.


Conventional forces are next to worthless (against military advanced nations) if you do not have a credible nuclear deterrence. Also, you're comparing apples and oranges with your ICBM cruise missile thing. Both offer some unique capabilities but ICBM's offer you more advantages than cruise missiles. Advantages such as survivability (though I will concede "stealth" cruise missiles might have similar survivability), a more capable and flexible strike capability (yield and MIRV's), rapid response (under 30 minutes) and significantly longer range.


Originally posted by fritz
For those of you who still doubt, the range of a Trident II D5, is 4,600 miles - 400 miles LESS than the next generation of cruise missiles


The most quoted range for the Trident II s 6,000 nm. Also I have asked you this several items but you have yet to respond. What "next generation" cruise missiles are you referring to? No current or future planed cruise missiles, that I am aware off, have a range anywhere near 5,000 miles.



posted on Jan, 11 2007 @ 03:37 PM
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ICBMs are definitely a part of your balanced breakfast. No one delivery system gets the job done.

I think some of the up and coming SCRAMjet/aerospike/PDWE engines might allow development of other systems in the next decade or two. Sort of a stratospheric Mach 8 cruise missile. If it never goes ballistic in a literal sense, it's a lot more unpredictable.

An ICBM in the ballistic phase has to count on deception or surprise end-stage maneuvering to counter some of the new terminal stage defense systems that plink the warheads at reentry. I'm not sure if anyone will ever manage to get that to work well, but it would be nice not to find out they did right at the last minute.



posted on Jan, 11 2007 @ 05:07 PM
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The most quoted range for the Trident II s 6,000 nm. Also I have asked you this several items but you have yet to respond. What "next generation" cruise missiles are you referring to? No current or future planed cruise missiles, that I am aware off, have a range anywhere near 5,000 miles.


D5 ranges I've heard are 6,500+miles, and I too have never heard of a 5,000 mile range cruise missile

mod edit: added quote tags
Quote Reference (review link)

[edit on 17-1-2007 by UK Wizard]



posted on Jan, 11 2007 @ 05:09 PM
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Originally posted by Tom Bedlam
ICBMs are definitely a part of your balanced breakfast. No one delivery system gets the job done.

I think some of the up and coming SCRAMjet/aerospike/PDWE engines might allow development of other systems in the next decade or two. Sort of a stratospheric Mach 8 cruise missile. If it never goes ballistic in a literal sense, it's a lot more unpredictable.

An ICBM in the ballistic phase has to count on deception or surprise end-stage maneuvering to counter some of the new terminal stage defense systems that plink the warheads at reentry. I'm not sure if anyone will ever manage to get that to work well, but it would be nice not to find out they did right at the last minute.


MARVs w/ decoys might solve that, especially if you had stealth cruise missiles take out ABMs.



posted on Jan, 11 2007 @ 09:58 PM
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4) That's changed. There's a new kid in town, HMX/RDX is now passe. You can get all the compression you want now, in a much much smaller package.


"all the compression" you want?

Is this an evolution of high explosives, or something really different, "ballotecnic" or anything like that?

Does it enable fusion without a fission primary?



posted on Jan, 11 2007 @ 10:34 PM
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Odd...

I thought this was a bad thing...considerig the non-proliferation treaty and all that.

Only 3 contries didn't sign in (India, Pakistan, and Israel), and a 4th (North Korea) withdrew from it. We're friends with the first three, and N. Korea doesn't have a chance in hell of delivering the puney warheads they have (not to mention Km doesn't have the balls to do so). And still, no one has been able to prove that Iran is planning to make the bomb (as they're a member of the NPT). It's just paranoia.

I really don't see a need for new nuclear bombs. Why not spend the money on armour, education, better fuel technology, fusion, or even free energy.



posted on Jan, 12 2007 @ 02:28 AM
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Westy, I'm not too sure whether this is still an ongoing project or not, but here is the link:

www.globalsecurity.org...

When I first saw this, I thought
, no more need for Trident and a massive saving in initial deployment and servicing costs.

Hope you approve Westy. If this has been cancelled, then please forgive me and remember that I am so old, I have problems getting out of bed in the mornings



posted on Jan, 12 2007 @ 05:40 AM
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The hypersonic delivery vehicle was cancelled because it was feared that it would spur a nuclear war rather than help prevent one. They did not want the enemy to launch a pre-emptive strike fearing a hypersonic missile dropping nukes off at thier door step before they could act.



posted on Jan, 12 2007 @ 08:08 AM
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Originally posted by mbkennel


4) That's changed. There's a new kid in town, HMX/RDX is now passe. You can get all the compression you want now, in a much much smaller package.


"all the compression" you want?

Is this an evolution of high explosives, or something really different, "ballotecnic" or anything like that?

Does it enable fusion without a fission primary?


It's really different.

I don't know of anything that enables fusion without a fission primary.

I know what you're referring to but that doesn't literally exist, it was a code term reused for several different materials.





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